Need of Business Communication skills in English

Will the largest South American country be able to fulfill its economic potential if Business English skills don’t improve nationwide?

Brazil has always been in a unique position as a country. It is the globe’s fifth largest country (in terms of both area and population) and has the eighth largest economy in the world. Brazil has also been praised for expanding its presence in international financial markets and is one of a group of four emerging economies labeled the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), which have come to symbolize the shift in global economic power away from the developed economies towards the developing world.

However, Brazil has a unique problem on its path to becoming a world economic leader – Business English communication skills! Portuguese is the dominant language in Brazil, in fact 80% of the world’s native Portuguese speakers live in Brazil followed by Mozambique with a remaining 9%. As a result very few companies, outside of Brazil, share its native language causing challenging global operations and major communication gaps.

To help fuel its economic standing in the world, one would assume Brazil is an ideal candidate to push the adoption of Business English, the standard language of global business. However, Brazil is far behind other South American countries in terms of English ability. The recently published Business English Index by GlobalEnglish shows Brazilians are not pushing hard enough and rank, on average, 3.84 out of a possible 10 points.

In June 2011, Sourcing Brazil outlining Brazil’s progress (or lack thereof) in adopting this global language standard. The article supported GlobalEnglish findings — Brazil’s Business English skills lag behind almost every other country on the continent, perhaps ironically, as many of the Spanish-speaking countries in South America have already adopted English as a second language. The cause? Brazilians have historically focused on regional business and consequently Spanish became their second language of choice.

This same article highlights some good news: Brazilian executives have made quite a bit of progress in adopting Business English, but this imperative has not spread throughout the country. Sourcing Brazil quotes a manager who said: “When you are talking to the chief executive or the CIO, he may speak English very well, but at the working level, the staff doing the actual work, most people do not speak English effectively for business communication of any consequence.” If Brazil continues to lag behind the other BRICs in terms of investment in Business English the implications on economic success are huge.


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